By Leocadia Bongben
The utilization of mosquito nets has tripled in Cameroon, though, less than half the population, about 8.4 million people in a population of 20m sleep under the nets, a post campaign study on the utilization of the long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets, has revealed.
The National Institute of Statistics, revealed the results of the study for the period 2011-2013 last week.
Utilization of mosquito net by the population tripled from 14 to 42 per cent, doubled in vulnerable groups, from 19 to 46 per cent in children of less than five years, and 17 to 41 per cent pregnant women.
The study notes that weak treatment for malaria within 24 hours remains preoccupying, coupled with the fact that quinine is still used for treatment in children below five years in the Centre and South regions.
About 8 million long lasting treated mosquito bed nets were distributed in 2011 under Round 9 funding of the Global Fund for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, dubbed, Scaling up malaria for impact in Cameroon, 2011-2013.
The distribution campaign was mired in dysfunctions as some homes that did not get the tickets enabling households to get access to the nets. But, these got at least a net especially in the rural areas, though observed more in the Centre, far North and Southwest.
It should be noted that prior to distribution, there was a kind of census- households were counted and given tickets, and those without the tickets were not to get the nets.
But, the study revealed that 29 per cent of the households were not censored, because they were absent from home, while some lost their tickets.
About 50 per cent of the population in the towns of Yaounde and Douala did not receive the nets. Yet, for the households that received the nets, 7 per cent do not use them due to inability to hang them above the beds.
The mosquito nets distributed in 2011 would expire in 2014 and the National Institute of Statistics urges the Ministry of Public Health and the National Malaria Control Programme to mobilize funds for another distribution of mosquito nets by 2014.
Also, increase sensitization, for more household to sleep under the nets and ameliorate the upcoming distribution to minimize dysfunctions noticed with the last distribution.
The Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has already made the commitment to provide 10million bed nets for the fight against malaria in 2014.
The Minster of Public Health, Andre Mama Fouda appreciated the results of the study as satisfying given that 66 per cent of families have bed nets, with 42 per cent utilization.
He urged families to sleep under mosquito bed nets to get protection from mosquitoes, especially children under five years and pregnant women.
Statistics from National Malaria Control Programme indicate that in Cameroon, malaria is the cause of 18percnet deaths registered in hospitals in children less than five and accounts for 41 per cent consultations and 55 per cent hospitalizations.
Forest zones in Cameroon, South, Centre, East and Southwest have a high malaria prevalence average 30 per cent while malaria prevalence is low in the Far North, North, Northwest and Littoral regions.